Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

This week, our intrepid host Linda Holmes calls in from L.A., where she's attending the Television Critics' Association press tour, to host a discussion of the filthy, freewheeling and very, very funny Girls Trip. She's joined by regular panelist Stephen Thompson, Code Switch's Gene Demby, and special guest Aisha Harris from Slate.

Stretch & Bobbito On Race, Hip-Hop, And Belonging

53 minutes ago

For most of the 1990s, Adrian "Stretch" Bartos and Robert "Bobbito" Garcia hosted a famous weekly hip-hop radio show on Columbia University's campus radio station, WKCR. Their no-frills, four-hour show was broadcast during the wee hours of the morning — 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday mornings — on a low-strength signal that listeners had to be deliberate about searching out.

'Strange Practice:' The Doctor Is In

5 hours ago

Jason Sheehan is currently the restaurant critic at Philadelphia magazine, but when no one is looking, he spends his time writing books about giant robots and ray guns. Tales From the Radiation Age is his latest book.

The Van Helsing family has a long history in the literature of monster-fighting – they've been stomping around the midnight moors and castles since at least 1897 when Professor Abraham Van Helsing first crossed paths with his biggest bad, Dracula.

Crumbs may seem harmless here on Earth, but they can be a hazard in microgravity — they could get in an astronaut's eye, or get inhaled, causing someone to choke. Crumbs could even float into an electrical panel, burn up or cause a fire.

That's part of the reason why it was a very big deal in 1965 when John Young pulled a corned beef sandwich out of his pocket as he was orbiting the earth with Gus Grissom.

"Where did that come from?" Grissom asked Young.

"I brought it with me," Young said.

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Feist On World Cafe

19 hours ago

Leslie Feist's latest album, Pleasure, is gritty, defiant and intimate in a way that's different from anything else we've heard from her. And when she wrote it, she was having a hard time feeling — well, pleasure. She explains in this session that she chose that word as a way to try and talk herself out of the dark feelings at the other extreme.

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Many comics struggle for years before making it big, but Jessica Williams' lucky break came early. She was just 22 and still in college when she landed a gig as a correspondent on The Daily Show in 2012.

Despite her early success, Williams says that her career before that wasn't always smooth sailing: "I am a 6-foot tall black woman and I have been since I was about 13 years old. ... As a comedian and improviser and somebody who did a lot of sketch and was an actress, I got tons of rejection early on."

Geoff Nunberg (@GeoffNunberg) is a linguist who teaches at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley.

The title of literary historian Bill Goldstein's book refers to a familiar quote from writer Willa Cather. In a 1936 essay, sensing that the literary landscape had shifted under her feet and that her own work was passing out of fashion, she lamented,"The world broke in two in 1922 or thereabouts."

She was referring to the appearance, in that year, of three towering works of modernism: James Joyce's Ulysses, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, and the English publication of the first volume of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time.

Actor Wesley Snipes has played iconic roles — the kind of characters with lines you can quote decades after his movies have left theaters. Snipes is also a film producer and a black belt in karate who has performed many of his own stunts in front of the camera.

His latest career move takes him away from the bright lights of Hollywood to the intimate process of writing fiction. Snipes’ debut novel, “Talon of God,” pits an intelligent heroine against a drug epidemic that creates demons on Earth.

GUESTS

I'm willing to bet you've never seen a "Best Of" list quite like this one. "Turning The Tables" ranks the 150 greatest albums made by women. It's a partnership between NPR Music and Lincoln Center, led by Lincoln Center's Jill Sternheimer and our Nashville correspondent, Ann Powers.

Ann stopped by World Cafe to share some of the artists that made the list and to talk about the No. 1 album. She'll also reveal surprises, controversial picks and one solid conclusion: "Every single one of these albums, they are all amazing."

In 1915, an advertisement proclaiming, "Bake in a glass!" appeared in the pages of Good Housekeeping. Corning Glass Works in New York had created a product that allowed food to be mixed, baked and served all in the same dish. By 1919, 4 million pieces of Pyrex — a new, durable glassware — had been sold to customers throughout the United States.

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There's nothing like fandom to encourage innovation, and the devotees of the Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical are no exception — whether they've actually seen the show in person or have memorized every lyric of the 46 songs on the soundtrack album. So it was only a matter of time before enthusiastic fans were going to search out culinary tributes to their most treasured folk hero.

Recorded in Music City at RCA's legendary Studio A, Jason Isbell's latest album, The Nashville Sound, tackles issues like race and privilege, anxiety, sobriety, hope and family. (Isbell is married to Amanda Shires, a talented fiddle player and singer-songwriter who is also a member of Isbell's band, The 400 Unit; they have a toddler named Mercy.)

NOTE: Each day this week we'll be rolling out a series of videos from Sylvan Esso that comprise the duo's upcoming visual EP, Echo Mountain Sessions.

We're recapping Season 7 of HBO's Game of Thrones here on Monkey See. We'll try to turn them around overnight, so look for them first thing on Mondays. And of course: Spoilers abound.

There are some themes in Alisyn Camerota's new novel that may sound familiar: A young upstart reporter is trying to make it at a national news network run by a ratings-obsessed media mogul. And then there's a female senator, firmly rooted in the establishment, going up against a political newcomer, fresh from Hollywood. Camerota started writing this book many years ago, but the events of 2016 make Amanda Wakes Up feel particularly prescient.

You probably have a mental image of what NASA's space missions look like — rockets blasting off into the sky, fiery clouds of exhaust after liftoff — but what do they sound like?

One of the biggest fishing magnates in the country could be sentenced to prison this coming week, and the forfeiture of his boats could be a big hit for the Massachusetts port where he amassed a small empire.

Between his scalloping and groundfishing boats, Carlos Rafael – nicknamed "the Codfather" — came to be the largest single owner of fishing vessels in New England, and possibly in the country.

In Sam Kean's previous nonfiction books, The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist's Thumb, the bestselling pop-science writer tackled the topics of the periodic table and DNA, respectively. His new book, Caesar's Last Breath, goes after something equally as essential. Subtitled Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us, it's a conversational and illuminating view of the history and inner workings of Earth's atmosphere — what comprises it, how we've harnessed it for better and for worse, and what it means to us going forward as a civilization.

The Detroit riots began 50 years ago Sunday, after a police raid on an unlicensed, after-hours club. They lasted five days, and by the time they stopped, 43 people were dead, hundreds were injured, thousands had been arrested and entire neighborhoods had burned to the ground.

The new film Detroit depicts the beginning of the riots and one of their most horrifying events: the Algiers Motel incident, in which three young black men were killed (some would say executed) by white police officers.

Bassem Youssef was a successful surgeon in Cairo when he was inspired — thanks to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show — to start his own satirical show on YouTube. Al-Bernameg was a hit, and Youssef received the highest honor in comedy: being forced to flee his country by a military dictatorship. He's now the subject of the documentary Tickling Giants.

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Any self-respecting comics fan cringes at the phrase "comics aren't just for kids anymore." But any self-respecting comics fan also has to admit there are some great kids' comics out there — especially right now.

Before I left for San Diego Comic-Con this week, I checked in with Lucy Strother, a fourth grade teacher in Philadelphia whose students just love comics. "We have like a comics and graphic novels bin in the library and it's perpetually empty because the kids are so obsessed with comics and graphic novels," she says.

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Life Lessons (With Zombies) In 'Minecraft: The Island'

Jul 22, 2017

Okay, let's get this out of the way right from the start. The Island, the new book by Max Brooks (yeah, the guy who wrote World War Z, the very good zombie book that got turned into that not-very-good Brad Pitt movie) is about Minecraft. The video game Minecraft.

And not a non-fiction book about the creation of Minecraft and its impact on society. Not a guide to playing Minecraft (although, in a weird way, it kind of is). It's a novel, set in the Minecraft universe.

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